Spring 2017

A series of posters, the agency’s new recruitment brochure, and a 5-minute recruitment video show actual Crestview Police officers in actual typical situations—though for a cop, there’s no such thing as a “typical" day. The theme emphasizes the department’s tight-knit, family-like work environment and directs focus on the many positive things police officers do for the 24,000-person community.

“A person who calls 911 for officer assistance isn’t just an anonymous voice,” Chief Taylor said. “In our com- munity, our officers are responding to calls by their friends and neighbors. It’s that small-town feeling that makes being an officer in Crestview so rewarding and appealing.” The video includes some examples of what Chief Taylor calls “giving back,” including the Cops Chorale, an officer-initiated fundraiser that benefit- ed the local Ronald McDonald House and Children’s Hospital at Sacred Heart Hospital. Other initiatives showcased in the video include “blessing bags,” in which a local church partnered with officers to distribute tote bags stuffed with toiletries and essentials to the homeless; Cops For Kids, an annual toy drive that this year raised more than $6,000; and community outreaches such as regular Coffee With a Cop informal chat sessions at local coffee shops.

At a January job fair presented by Career Source Okaloosa/Walton, the Crestview Police Department set up its poster series, which soon drew groups of attendees. “People glanced at the Department of Corrections’ table, gave a quick look at the (Okaloosa County) sheriff’s table, but they stopped at our table and read those posters and asked us questions,” Commander Schneider said.

As a result, two job fair attendees enrolled the next week in Looper’s academy, ran the Police Department’s physical abilities test, and sat for interviews with Chief Taylor and his command staff. They are currently un- dergoing background investigations.

MORE OPPORTUNITIES “In the bigger agencies, once the chief or sheriff shakes your hand after you’re sworn in, you can easily become just a call sign on the radio,” Chief Taylor said. “I know every officer’s name here, I know their families, and I keep an open-door policy so they know they can come talk to me anytime about anything.”

Crestview Police Investigator Chaise Rawles and Cmdr. Andrew Schneider discuss recruitment challenges with Wil- liam Looper, director of the Northwest Florida State College Criminal Justice program and its police academy during a career fair at the college.

Additionally, the campaign emphasizes that at a smaller agency like Crestview Police Department, with an au- thorized staffing level of 51 officers, new cops have a better opportunity for advancement into specialized di- visions, unlike in a large agency where officers wait years to achieve sufficient seniority to advance. Such opportunities include quicker advancement to units such as the Special Weapons And Tactics—or S.W.A.T.— team, the K-9 corps, Community Services or Criminal Investigations.

“I’ve had better opportunity for training and advancement,” said Officer Michael Powell in the video, who recently tried out for and made the S.W.A.T. team. “They’ll give you the opportunity to find a place where you’ll fit in,” Officer Nate Marlar said during an on-camera interview while on patrol. Plus, the campaign stresses that being part of a tight-knit “family,” Crestview cops care about each other as well as their com- munity.

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